Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman star in Deception, the critically reviled thriller that came and went from theaters faster than you can say flop. Clearly a film that was made on a bet, Deception is about routine as they come... except, I rather liked it. Deception has a piddling 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that nearly every critic and his or her mother - and grandmother - hated it. The Top Critics only gave it 4%, and the consensus of the reviews is that Deception "is a middling, predictable potboiler with mediocre dialogue and ludicrous plot twists."
Fair enough, but I still liked it. The dialogue isn't great. The movie was obviously written by a horny guy sitting at home in his basement, thinking about how he could write a story about an Average Joe who gets recruited into an anonymous sex club where he could have sex with lots of beautiful women that look a lot like Natasha Henstridge and Maggie Q. And Charlotte Rampling, what? Of course, just doing a movie about a dude having sex with bunch of random, easy women is called a porn, so it's best to throw in some intrigue, betrayal, murder and - you guessed it - deception!
Sadly, Deception is predictable, but I'm pretty sure director Marcel Langenegger, who's a cousin of Arnold only not really (do you think he was called "Wangenegger" in elementary school?), knew that from the beginning. At least I hope so. He seems to be fine with the fact that his thriller is pretty routine, as otherwise the picture looks decent enough, with a nice, crisp look and a fast-moving story. Neither McGregor or Jackman are great, but they make for okay characters, and after the cluster that was Pathology, they are Godsends.
As predictable as the movie is, I liked it, for the simple fact that it's, well, simple. The twist is executed pretty well and puts a smile on your face, and that's about all I could ask for. I was never bored and never wanted to scratch my eyes out, so that's good, too.
Unfortunately, the denouement is pretty damn bad. This may be time to issue a spoiler alert. After Michelle Williams, still angry over the death of Heath, shoots Hugh Jackman from out of nowhere, Ewan McGregor does the only logical actions possible: he gets the man's blood on his shirt, his fingerprints on the dude's passport and leaves the $20 million in the park. Are you freaking kidding me? And all this just so he can chase after the woman he loves, who was the one who betrayed him in the first place? And then some time later, they run into each other again? You have got to be kidding me. The ending is downright terrible.
If you really like thrillers and have nothing else to see, Deception is not nearly as bad as the critics say it is. I wouldn't go out of my way to see it, but it has its moments.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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